Weekly Roundup: This week’s stories at a glance

Tech women’s basketball comes home for three after road win streak

Tech’s women’s basketball prepares to finish out the last three home games of the season with a three-game win streak on the road.

The team moved into third place in the Ohio Valley Conference standings this week, having recently beat in-state rivals Austin Peay State University and Tennessee State University on the road.

“I’m really happy that we’re getting back in the groove,” said Brittany Darling, senior guard. “I think we’re going to win the next five straight.”

The season began with major success in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, including a trip to UCLA and challenging games against Louisiana Tech, Marshall and Samford.

Senior Tacarra Hayes and sophomore Jala Harris have combined for the most points, leading a young team that has most of its starters returning next year.

The team was chosen as the pre-season favorite going into this year.

OVC releases conference divisions for basketball beginning next season

The Tech women’s and men’s basketball teams will compete in the Ohio Valley Conference East Division beginning next season, under a plan for divisional play that was announced Thursday by the league office. The new plan begins with the 2012-13 academic year.

The addition of Belmont University on July 1, 2012 will give the OVC 12 member institutions, the largest the Conference has been since it was formed in 1948 (the OVC is currently the nation’s eighth-oldest Division I conference).

The sports of softball and volleyball will also use schedules based on a divisional format. The sports of baseball, women’s soccer and men’s and women’s tennis will not use divisional play because those sports currently have less than 12 participating teams.

The East Division will include Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.

The West Division will include Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Murray State, Southeast Missouri State, SIUE and UT Martin.

Finalized 2012-13 men’s and women’s Conference basketball schedules will be released in the coming weeks.

Men’s basketball handles EKU

Double-double efforts from Jud Dillard and Zac Swansey and season-best scoring performances by Zach Bailey and Bassey Inameti helped Tennessee Tech claim a 74-67 Ohio Valley Conference victory over visiting Eastern Kentucky Wednesday night in the Eblen Center.

Dillard led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, his eighth double-double of the season. Swansey, meanwhile, posted his first of the year with 10 points and 10 assists.

Bailey matched his season-high with 17 points while Inameti came up one short of his career-high and scored his season-best with 13.

The balanced effort allowed Tech (17-11/9-6) to hold on to fourth place in the OVC standings, and pull within a half-game of third-place Southeast Missouri.

Tech controlled the first half, including a 19-9 rebound edge, but never could shake the pesky Colonels. EKU took a one-point lead in the opening minute but the Golden Eagles quickly moved on top with a 3-pointer by Swansey and held the lead the rest of the way.

Tech’s margin bulged to nine midway in the half when Terrell Barnes’ layup made it 18-9. The Colonels crept to within three on two occasions before halftime, the last coming at 31-28, on a Mike DiNunno layup with 50 seconds left. Bailey hit another 3-pointer for a six-point bulge before Joshua Jones got a steal under the basket and scored at the buzzer to make it 34-30 at halftime.

Tech opened the second frame on a 10-3 run, including both of Kevin Murphy’s baskets in the contest, and opened an 11-point lead, 44-33, with 15:07 to play.

The Colonels pulled within two, 54-52, when a Jaron Jones converted a three-point play with 8:50 remaining to cap a 19-10 stretch for EKU.

Tech came back with a 3-pointer by Swansey, two free throws from Inameti and five straight from Dillard to reclaim a double-digit advantage, 64-52, with 6:32 remaining.

Tech was able to hold onto its edge at the free throw line down the stretch. The win snapped a two-game losing skid by the Golden Eagles.

The Golden Eagles step outside the conference for their next game Saturday at Coastal Carolina in a Sears Bracket Buster game.

Following that, Tech has a week to prepare for the regular season finale against league-leading Murray State Feb. 25, at home.